Dover Downs hosts stellar Thursday card
Less than one week after the Breeders Cup and less than two weeks after the Breeders Crowns, Dover Downs will offer a quartet of lucrative Matron Stakes finals for two-year-olds of both gaits and genders on Thursday.
In fact, much of Thursday's card at Dover is a showcase for two-year-olds. In addition to the Matron finals and consolations, there are also a trio of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund events for freshmen pacing colts and geldings.
The opening race on the card is the first division of the first round of DSBF elims for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Railbound Rusty Carter (Corey Callahan), fresh off his win in the $100,000 DSBF final at Harrington Raceway last month, will be the solid 3-5 favorite while Sizz Matty (Allan Davis) and Hail To The Master (Art Stafford, Jr.) are definite contenders.
Then one race later Dover will offer the $216,300 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Dog Gone Lucky (Callahan), fresh off his score in the Kindergarten Stakes, drew the rail for trainer Chuck Sylvester and arrives with four wins and over $210,000 banked from 11 starts. Four of his toughest rivals are just to his outside.
Milligan's School (Andy Miller) has won five of 13 starts and nearly $188,000 for trainer Julie Miller and will start from post two. Deweylovernleaver (Aaron Merriman) has won three of eight starts and $114,000 thus far for trainer Chris Beaver. Love Matters (Yannick Gingras) has won six of eight starts for trainer Jim Takter, while Sylvester trainee Waitlifter K (David Miller) owns a 2-2-2 slate and earnings just shy of $100,000 from 11 starts.
Then two races later in the fourth, the $185,400 Matron Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. Womans Will (Andy Miller) and Kathy Parker (Gingras) arrive with virtually identical records and will start alongside one another in posts four and five, respectively.
Kathy Parker owns a solid 4-3-3 slate and earnings of nearly $300,000 for Takter and has proven to be a worthy namesake of the longtime harness writer and Horseman & Fair World editor. Womans Will was fourth in her Breeders Crown final for trainer Julie Miller and sports a 4-2-2 slate and $260,000 bankroll from 11 outings this season.
Then three races later in the seventh, the $183,400 Matron Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies, local trainee Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) has won seven of nine starts and nearly $125,000 for trainer Jim King, Jr. of Wakizashi Hanover and Just A Jolt fame. She also owns a lifetime mark of 1:51.1 over a five-eighths mile oval.
But railbound Shezarealdeal (John Campbell) has certainly lived up to her name this season. This Ross Croghan-trained daughter of Western Ideal sports a solid 4-3-1 slate and earnings of over $300,000 from 11 starts this year, slightly less than the combined earnings of her seven rivals in this event.
Then one race later in the eighth, the $201,400 Matron Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, Big Top Hanover (Gingras) leads a trio of Ron Burke trainees. He owns a modest 2-3-2 slate and $292,500 bankroll from 12 starts this year and should go postward as the 8-5 favorite from post four.
But his toughest competition will not come from stablemates Pretty Boy Hill (Matt Kakaley) and Jk Will Power (Brett Miller), who will start from posts two and three, respectively. Instead, Autotune Hanover (Tetrick), Katies Rocker (David Miller) and Ideal Rocks (Callahan) will garner ample support from posts six, seven and eight, respectively. Combined the trio has won 14 of 31 races and earned over $525,000 this year.
Toward the latter portion of the card the track will offer two more DSBF elims for freshman pacing colts and geldings. In the 11th, Canthelpbutwin (Eric Goodell) is expected to be the odds-on favorite from post three for trainer Josh Green, but in the 12th favoritism could belong to either John's Dream (Chuck Perry, Jr.) or All Artist (Jeff Fout) who will leave from posts three and four, respectively.